As any Victorian knows, as the City of Gardens, it also equates to the “city of seasonal allergies”. Unlike many other cities which have a much shorter blooming season, our mild climate is bounty to lush, green, pollen-y misery for many hay fever sufferers. For some, allergy season can start as early as late January depending on weather and what decides to pollinate.
Hay fever or allergic rhinitis is defined as inflammation of the mucus membranes in response to a hypersensitive reaction to pollen or other allergens such as dust, animal dander and other chemical particles. In cold-damp weather, many become sensitive to molds and fungus. Exposure to allergens will result in chemical changes in the body that will result in sneezing, itchy and watery eyes, swelling and inflammation of the nasal passages, and an increase in mucus production. How delightful…anti-histamines are the treatment of choice for most medical doctors, which can cause a variety of side effects including drowsiness, dry mouth & eyes, nosebleeds, etc.
In Chinese Medicine, seasonal allergies are seen as an invasion of external pathogens from the environment, which usually are defined as wind, heat, cold, damp and airborne allergens would also qualify. Allergic reaction, which is characterized by symptoms of redness, itchiness and swelling we would refer to as wind (from the environment) and heat (red, swollen, itchy). Hay fever would indicate that this wind-heat is affecting our lungs, head and respiratory tract. Therefore, to alleviate allergy symptoms, utilize agents that expel wind and cool down the heat. Over-the-counter medications do just so, but kinder alternatives would include these following simple home remedies:
Still miserable? A series of acupuncture treatments, especially before the thick of allergy season (for many that is early January) is a simple way to calm your over-active immune system. Acupuncture is known to reduce inflammation in the tissues and instead of in your muscles or joints, with hayfever, its in your respiratory tract. Here are Heart & Hands, we’ve often found even as little as 3-4 poke sessions are often enough to quell the itchy-sneezy-runny misery.
A poke a week keeps the pollen-induced sneezes away. Acupunk’s orders ;)